Evolution of the Subsurface Thermal Environment in Urban Areas: Studies in Large Cities in East Asia


Temporal variation in the ground surface temperature (GST) propagates downward and disturbs the subsurface temperature structure. Analysis of subsurface temperature profiles gives information on the past GST history. For investigation of subsurface thermal environment evolution in urban areas, we reconstructed GST history from borehole temperature data obtained in large cities in East Asia. Most of the estimated GST histories show significant surface warming in the last century. In the Bangkok area, the amount of the GST increase is larger in the city center than in suburban and rural areas, corresponding to the degree of urbanization. The amount of heat accumulated in the subsurface due to surface warming, which can be calculated at the sites where GST histories were reconstructed, is a useful indicator of the subsurface thermal environment. We conducted monitoring of borehole temperature and soil temperature aiming to observe process of downward propagation of GST variation. Data obtained in some wells exhibit periodic or long-term temperature variations attributable to human activities. Soil temperatures measured within 1 m of the ground surface show prominent annual variation and provide information on the relation between GST and air temperature.


Groundwater Flow Subsurface Temperature Ground Surface Temperature Temperature Disturbance Temperature Profile Measurement 



Measurements of borehole temperature profiles and long-term monitoring of soil/borehole water temperature were conducted by Japanese and foreign members of the research project “Human Impacts on Urban Subsurface Environment”, Research Institute for Humanity and Nature (RIHN) in cooperation with the Lake Biwa Museum, Water Resources Agency, Ministry of Economic Affairs, Taiwan, National Pingtung University of Science and Technology, National Cheng Kung University, especially with assistance of K. Takahashi, M. Koizumi, and V. Harcouet.


  1. Bartlett MG, Chapman DS, Harris RN (2004) Snow and the ground temperature record of climate change. J Geophys Res 109:F04008. doi: 10.1029/2004JF000224 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bartlett MG, Chapman DS, Harris RN (2006) A decade of ground-air temperature tracking at Emigrant Pass Observatory, Utah. J Climate 19:3722–3731CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Beltrami H, Kellman L (2003) An examination of short- and long-term air-ground temperature coupling. Glob Planet Change 38:291–303CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Beltrami H, Bourlon E, Kellman L, Gonzalez-Rouco JF (2006) Spatial patterns of ground heat gain in the Northern Hemisphere. Geophys Res Lett 33:L06717. doi: 10.1029/2006GL025676 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bredehoeft JD, Papadopulos IS (1965) Rates of vertical groundwater movement estimated from the earth’s thermal profile. Water Resour Res 1:325–328CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Cermak V (1971) Underground temperature and inferred climatic temperature of the past millennium. Palaeogeogr Palaeoclimatol Palaeoecol 10:1–19CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Cermak V, Safanda J, Kresl M, Dedecek P, Bodri L (2000) Recent climate warming: surface air temperature series and geothermal evidence. Stud Geophys Geod 44:430–441CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Cermak V, Safanda S, Bodri L, Yamano M, Gordeev E (2006) A comparative study of geothermal and meteorological records of climate change in Kamchatka. Stud Geophys Geod 50:675–695CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Dapaah-Siakwan S, Kayane I (1995) Estimation of vertical water and heat fluxes in the semi-confined aquifers in Tokyo Metropolitan area, Japan. Hydrol Processes 9:143–160CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Domenico PA, Palciauskas VV (1973) Theoretical analysis of forced convective heat transfer in regional ground-water flow. Geol Soc Am Bull 84:3803–3814CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Ferguson G, Woodbury AD (2007) Urban heat island in the subsurface. Geophys Res Lett 34:L23713. doi: 10.1029/2007GL032324 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Gonzalez-Rouco F, von Storch H, Zorita E (2003) Deep soil temperature as proxy for surface air-temperature in a coupled model simulation of the last thousand years. Geophys Res Lett 30:2116. doi: 10.1029/2003GL018264 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Goto S, Yamano M (2010) Reconstruction of the 500-year ground surface temperature history of northern Awaji Island, southwest Japan, using a layered thermal property model. Phys Earth Planet In 183:435–446. doi:10.1016/j.pepi.2010.10.003Google Scholar
  14. Goto S, Kim HC, Uchida Y, Okubo Y (2005) Reconstruction of the ground surface temperature history from the borehole temperature data in the southeastern part of the Republic of Korea. J Geophys Eng 2:312–319CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Goto S, Yamano M, Kim HC, Uchida Y, Okubo Y (2009) Ground surface temperature history reconstructed form borehole temperature data in Awaji Island, southwest Japan for studies of human impacts on climate change in East Asia. In: Taniguchi M, Burnett WC, Fukushima Y, Haigh M, Umezawa Y (eds) From headwaters to the ocean: hydrological changes and watershed management. Taylor & Francis, London, pp 529–534Google Scholar
  16. Hamamoto H, Yamano M, Goto S, Taniguchi M (2009) Estimation of the past ground surface temperature history from subsurface temperature distribution – application to the Bangkok area. Butsuri-Tansa (Geophys Explor) 62:575–584 (in Japanese with English abstract)Google Scholar
  17. Harris RN, Chapman DS (1997) Borehole temperatures and a baseline for 20th-century global warming estimates. Science 275:1618–1621CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Huang S (2006) 1851–2004 annual heat budget of the continental landmass. Geophys Res Lett 33:L04707. doi: 10.1029/2005GL025300 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Huang S, Pollack HN, Wang J-Y, Cermak V (1995) Ground surface temperature histories inverted from subsurface temperatures of two boreholes located in Panxi, SW China. J Southeast Asian Earth Sci 12:113–120CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Huang S, Pollack HN, Shen P-Y (2000) Temperature trends over the past five centuries reconstructed from borehole temperatures. Nature 403:756–758CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Huang S, Taniguchi M, Yamano M, Wang CH (2009) Detecting urbanization effects on surface and subsurface thermal environment – a case study of Osaka. Sci Total Environ 407:3142–3152CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Jessop AM (1990) Thermal geophysics. Elsevier Science, Amsterdam, Netherlands, 306 ppGoogle Scholar
  23. Kataoka K, Matsumoto F, Ichinose T, Taniguchi M (2009) Urban warming trends in several large Asian cities over the last 100 years. Sci Total Environ 407:3112–3119CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Lachenbruch AH, Marshall BV (1986) Changing climate: geothermal evidence from permafrost in the Alaskan Arctic. Science 234:689–696CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Lewis T, Wang K (1992) Influence of terrain on bedrock temperature. Palaeogeogr Palaeoclimatol Palaeoecol 98:87–100CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Lewis TJ, Wang K (1998) Geothermal evidence for deforestation induced warming: implications for the climatic impact of land development. Geophys Res Lett 25:535–538CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Lubis RF, Miyakoshi A, Yamano M, Taniguchi M, Sakura Y, Delinom R (2009) Reconstructions of climate change and surface warming at Jakarta using borehole temperature data. In: Taniguchi M, Burnett WC, Fukushima Y, Haigh M, Umezawa Y (eds) From headwaters to the ocean: hydrological changes and watershed management. Taylor & Francis, London, pp 541–545Google Scholar
  28. Miyakoshi A, Uchida Y, Sakura Y, Hayashi T (2003) Distribution of subsurface temperature in the Kanto Plain, Japan; estimation of regional groundwater flow system and surface warming. Phys Chem Earth 28:467–475Google Scholar
  29. Miyakoshi A, Hayashi T, Monyrath V, Lubis RF, Sakura Y (2009a) Subsurface thermal environment change due to artificial effects in the Tokyo metropolitan area, Japan. In: Taniguchi M, Burnett WC, Fukushima Y, Haigh M, Umezawa Y (eds) From headwaters to the ocean: hydrological changes and watershed management. Taylor & Francis, London, pp 547–552Google Scholar
  30. Miyakoshi A, Hayashi T, Kawai M, Kawashima S, Hachinohe S (2009b) Change in groundwater and subsurface thermal environment in the Tokyo metropolitan area. Abstracts Japan Geophysics Union Meeting 2009, H129-P003 (abstract)Google Scholar
  31. Pollack HN, Chapman DS (1993) Underground records of changing climate. Sci Am 268:16–22CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Pollack HN, Huang S (2000) Climate reconstruction from subsurface temperatures. Annu Rev Earth Planet Sci 28:339–365CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Pollack HN, Demezhko DY, Duchkov AD, Golovanova IV, Huang S, Shchapov VA, Smerdon JE (2003) Surface temperature trends in Russia over the past five centuries reconstructed from borehole temperatures. J Geophys Res 108(B4):2180. doi: 10.1029/2002JB002154 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Safanda J, Rajver D, Correia A, Dedecek P (2007) Repeated temperature logs from Czech, Slovenian and Portuguese borehole climate observatories. Clim Past 3:453–462CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Smerdon JE, Pollack HN, Cermak V, Enz JW, Kresl M, Safanda J, Wehmiller JF (2004) Air-ground temperature coupling and subsurface propagation of annual temperature signals. J Geophys Res 109:D21107. doi: 10.1029/2004JD005056 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Smerdon JE, Pollack HN, Cermak V, Enz JW, Kresl M, Safanda J, Wehmiller JF (2006) Daily, seasonal, and annual relationships between air and subsurface temperatures. J Geophys Res 111:D07101. doi: 10.1029/2004JD005578 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Taniguchi M, Uemura T (2005) Effects of urbanization and groundwater flow on the subsurface temperature in Osaka, Japan. Phys Earth Planet Inter 152:305–313CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Taniguchi M, Shimada J, Tanaka T, Kayane I, Sakura Y, Shimano Y, Dapaah-Siakwan S, Kawashima S (1999) Disturbances of temperature-depth profiles due to surface climate change and subsurface water flow: 1. An effect of linear increase in surface temperature caused by global warming and urbanization in the Tokyo metropolitan area, Japan. Water Resour Res 35:1507–1517CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Taniguchi M, Uemura T, Jago-on K (2007) Combined effects of urbanization and global warming on subsurface temperature in four Asian cities. Vadose Zone J 6:591–596CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Taniguchi M, Shimada J, Fukuda Y, Yamano M, Onodera S, Kaneko S, Yoshikoshi A (2009) Anthropogenic effects on the subsurface thermal and groundwater environments in Osaka, Japan and Bangkok, Thailand. Sci Total Environ 407:3153–3164CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Uchida Y, Sakura Y, Taniguchi M (2003) Shallow subsurface thermal regimes in major plains in Japan with reference to recent surface warming. Phys Chem Earth 28:457–466Google Scholar
  42. Wang K (1992) Estimation of ground surface temperatures from borehole temperature data. J Geophys Res 97:2095–2106CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Wang K, Lewis TJ (1992) Geothermal evidence from Canada for a cold period before recent climatic warming. Science 256:1003–1005CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Woodbury AD, Bhuiyan AKMH, Hanesiak J, Akinremi OO (2009) Observations of northern latitude ground-surface and surface-air temperatures. Geophys Res Lett 36:L07703. doi: 10.1029/2009GL037400 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Yamanaka T, Mikita M, Tsujimura M, Lorphensri O, Shimada J, Hagihara A, Ikawa R, Kagabu M, Nakamura T, Onodera S, Taniguchi M (2009) Assessment of enhanced recharge of confined groundwater in and around the Bangkok metropolitan area: numerical experiments and multiple tracer studies. In: Proc. international symposium on efficient groundwater resources management (IGS-TH 2009), Bangkok, Thailand, February 2009, CD-ROMGoogle Scholar
  46. Yamano M (2010) Reconstruction of subsurface thermal environment in urban areas In: Taniguchi M (ed) Subsurface environment in Asia, Gakuho-sha, Tokyo, pp 187–213 (in Japanese)Google Scholar
  47. Yamano M, Goto S, Miyakoshi A, Hamamoto H, Lubis RF, Vuthy M, Taniguchi M (2009) Reconstruction of the thermal environment evolution in urban areas from underground temperature distribution. Sci Total Environ 407:3120–3128CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Earthquake Research InstituteUniversity of TokyoTokyoJapan

Personalised recommendations